Above the Bar



Best Craft Cocktail
Kill Devil Club
KC’s newest hotspot is a jazzy nightclub overlooking the Power & Light District. The dark, cozy club with a speakeasy vibe, features handcrafted cocktails, a well-stocked bar with an especially large selection of rums and live music that will make you want to get up and swing the night away. Brought to you by Ryan Maybee, the craft cocktail king, Kill Devil’s premiere cocktail list includes Tempest, Bacchanal Plantation, Bliss Swizzle, Mojo Royale, Man’s Ruin, Tailwind; as well as the classic Hanky Panky, Old Fashioned, Death in the Afternoon and Bee’s Knees; and the signature Kill-Devil Punch.
The Kill Devil Club
61 E. 14th St., Kansas City, Mo.
(913) 908-0406  |  killdevilclub.com
Best Girls' Night Out
La Bodega
Grab a seat at the bar inside for some laughs with your girls while enjoying the festive ambiance, or venture out onto the terrace on a warm summer night where you’ll feel transported to an ocean-side resort. Serving up Spanish culture via drinks and tapas, or small plates, La Bodega is a great place for camaraderie and fun. The Sangria is the best around, but don’t forget about the mojitos or the impressive wine list. La Bodega also offers $5 happy hour specials and half-price wines on Monday, perfect for group sharing.
La Bodega Tapas & Lounge
4311 W. 119th St., Leawood, Kan.
(913) 428-8272  |  labodegakc.com
Best Neighborhood Bar
Coach’s
Where everyone knows your name, especially if you’re a regular. Locally owned and operated since 1982, Coach’s offers a great menu — including awesome late night specials — and plenty of flat screen TVs (46 inches or larger … who says size doesn’t matter?) to satisfy even the biggest sports enthusiasts. This is the place down the street where people go after work to have a drink with friends, to watch the big game with everyone or just to grab a burger on a Saturday afternoon. The new location in Overland Park also features the often-talked-about fireplace room and rooftop bar and patio.
Coach’s Bar & Grill
9089 W. 135th St., Overland Park, Kan.
(913) 897-7070  |  coach-s.com

 

Best Jazz Club
The Blue Room
Named after the famed 1930s hotel club in the Historic 18th & Vine Jazz District, the Blue Room simultaneously honors the past, showcases the present names in jazz and offers local musicians a place to jam. The Blue Room has a full bar and, considering its small size, enough room to enjoy yourself and let the music fill your soul. Big bands perform the last Monday of each month and the Latin jazz and salsa series gets shakin’ on the last Thursday of each month.
The Blue Room
1616 E. 18th St., Kansas City, Mo.
(816) 474-2929  |  americanjazzmuseum.com

Best Bar for Live Music
The Record Bar
While The Record Bar serves typical drinks and typical bar food, what really makes it stand out is the diverse live entertainment and special events offered on almost a nightly basis. You’ll see the best of the Kansas City music scene, as well as nationally known touring artists and groups. The acoustics are great, and there are always enough tables and booths to accommodate. You will want to go back time after time and bring your friends to hear some great live music.
The Record Bar
1020 Westport Road, Kansas City, Mo.
(816) 753-5207  |  therecordbar.com

Best Beer Selection
Flying Saucer
This place is all about beer, knocking out every contender with its massive selection of more than 240 imported and domestic quality craft beers on tap and in bottles. The raucous atmosphere provides a great gathering place and great experience for any beer lover. You can even join the UFO club — you’ll get a free Beer Knurds T-shirt and a magnetic card that will keep track of the beers you consume so you can one day be immortalized in the “Ring of Honor” for all to see.
Flying Saucer Draught Emporium
101 E. 13th St., Kansas City, Mo.
(816) 221-1900  |  beerknurd.com

Best Honky Tonk
PBR Big Sky
PBR Big Sky has been known to host a crazy crowd or two. This is where cowboy cool meets urban chic. Think denim and diamonds, Stetsons and stilettos. Throw in cold beer, hard drinks and a little bull riding, and it’s a fun time for any cowboy and cowgirl. With country music playing in the background and a dance party on the floor, you can enjoy drink specials Monday through Friday, and a live band playing Thursday and Saturday nights.
PBR Big Sky
111 E. 13th St., Kansas City, Mo.
(816) 442-8145  |  pbrbigskykc.com
Best Hideaway
Manifesto
Located in the underground depths of the Rieger Hotel Grill & Exchange, this is the best lounge in town. To get in you need to call or text ahead and be buzzed in at the back door of the building. The bar is down the steps and through a tunnel. Dark, cozy and cool — also delicious, expensive, sexy (the adjectives are endless) — this place is a gem. It’s exactly what you’d expect from an “exclusive” upscale bar with experienced bartenders. The cocktails are incredible! Be sure to try the patron favorites: Beautiful Red Bell, Shatto Blanc and Stay Wet.
Manifesto
1924 Main St., Kansas City, Mo.
(816) 536-1325  |  theriegerkc.com/manifesto
New & Noteworthy
Drum Room
Situated adjacent to Providence New American Kitchen, the revamped Drum Room Lounge is similar to an Old World lounge, featuring warm, dark woods and an homage to Kansas City’s illustrious past. A handcrafted Prohibition-era cocktail menu is the centerpiece — using fresh fruits, spices and herbs, each drink pays homage to historical figures and events, such as the Truman-hattan, Teddy’s Last Drop, Ford’s Bramble Tonic, McKinley Dram, Sassy’s Champagne Cocktail and Prohibition Presidente. A hand-selected wine menu and beer list also are available.
Drum Room
1335 Baltimore Ave., Kansas City, Mo.
(816) 303-1686  |  drumroomkc.com

 

Best Hotel Bar
The Oak Room
Actually called The Oak Bar, you’ll feel like you to stepped into a Hollywood lounge with this sophisticated spot for drinking and possibly some celebrity gazing (what famous person doesn’t stay at the InterContinental while in town?). The bar, located just off the lobby, offers a scenic view of the Country Club Plaza and a fireplace to sit, relax and enjoy a signature cocktail. Featuring a comprehensive spirits collection, including a world-class selection of ports, cognacs and cordials, the Oak Bar also provides the perfect setting for listening to live music every Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
The Oak Room
InterContinental Kansas City at the Plaza
401 Ward Parkway, Kansas City, Mo.
(816) 756-1500  |  kansascityic.com

Best Happy Hour
Bristol
As a place you’d typically splurge on for special occasions like birthdays and anniversaries, the Bristol’s happy hour will knock your socks off. Get the best bang for your buck in the bar and patio areas from 4 to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and 4 to 8 p.m. on Sunday. Specials include $1 off draft and bottled beers, $6.50 martinis and handcrafted cocktails (normally $10), $3.50 oyster shooters, and half-priced bottles of wine on Sundays. You can also choose from $5.50 and $6.50 appetizers like smoked salmon flatbread, roasted duck flatbread, steamed mussels, lobster tamale bruschetta, Vietnamese-style crab spring rolls, and New England lobster roll sliders.
Bristol Seafood Grill
5400 W. 119th St., Leawood, Kan.
(913) 663-5777  |  bristolseafoodgrill.com

Best Place To Smoke A Stogie
The Cigar Box
Or at least it used to be. There’s no smoking inside the Cigar Box since the smoking ban went into effect, but it still has that old-school, cigar-smoking clubhouse feel. An impressive selection of cigars are available for purchasing and taking outside to smoke, and drink and food prices are fair. A somewhat seedy, Las Vegas-inspired lounge, it’s a cozy place with a more mature crowd, but “headlining” lounge singer
Al Latta performs almost every night classic tunes by crooners like Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin that anyone can appreciate.
The Cigar Box
1519 Grand Blvd., Kansas City, Mo.
(816) 421-7222

Best Microbrewery
Gordon Biersch
Known internationally for its award-winning, handcrafted beers, Gordon Biersch brews a variety of beers (mostly lagers) on-site in small batches using authentic Weyermann malt and Hersbrucker hops imported from Germany. The “brewmasters” create the house beers Golden Export, Hefeweizen, Blonde Bock, Czech Pilsner, Märzen and Schwarzbier, as well as limited-time brews that complement all seasons. Each seasonal beer is celebrated with a tapping party that’s open to the public. And the menu is one of the best in town, from appetizers to entrees you won’t be disappointed.
Gordon Biersch
11652 Ash St., Leawood, Kan.
(913) 451-2739  |  gordonbiersch.com
Best Wine Bar
JJ’s
At JJ’s the bar area is dominated by a library of liquors, scotches and vintage ports, and the extensive wine list was awarded a Grand Award from Wine Spectator magazine as one of the most comprehensive in the world. A visit to JJ’s would not be complete without sampling a glass or a bottle of wine from the 1,800 bottle, 42-page list, which gives you wine choices from around the world, from Argentina to New Zealand, as you select just the right wine to complement your cuisine. Bottles range in price from $20 to $6,000.
JJ’s Restaurant
910 W. 48th St., Kansas City, Mo.
(816) 561-7136  |  jjs-restaurant.com
Best Gay Bar
Bistro 303
Referred to as 303 by its patrons, this bar attracts a diverse, friendly, fun and primarily gay clientele. But you’ll never feel excluded here — owners Gene and Jeffrey, who serve as amazing resources for the local scene, will make you feel right at home. With its casual yet classy atmosphere, 303 offers a delightful menu and excellent cocktails (more classics than specialty drinks) but the bar is well-stocked and the pours are generous. The fun really gets going after 9 p.m. on weekends.
Bistro 303
303 Westport Road, Kansas City, Mo.
(816) 753-2303  |  bistro303.com

 

Most Famous Bar
Kelly’s
Everyone’s been to Kelly’s at least once, and if you haven’t, go tonight. This bar is a Kansas City tradition — even the building has been designated as a national historic landmark. Family-owned and operated for five decades, Kelly’s is an Irish pub like no other, serving a diverse crowd and offering live music, a colorful history, weekday specials and good stories. In 2010, Kelly’s opened Randal’s Rooftop, a rooftop deck named after founder Randal Kelly. The 1,125-square-foot deck offers an awesome view of Westport, and in the winter the deck is enclosed and heated. It also has multiple flat-screen TVs, fans and heaters, air-conditioned restrooms, and a full-service bar.
Kelly’s Westport Inn
500 Westport Road, Kansas City, Mo.
(816) 561-5800  |  kellyswestportinn.com

Best Sports Bar
Tanner’s
The sports-watchers’ bar of choice, Tanner’s lives up to its motto: “Friendly purveyors of good times, fine food and the pause that refreshes.” Grandpa Tanner started the establishment about 25 years ago and decades later the tradition continues. No matter who you root for, the big games are always on, there are dozens of TVs available for watching and pool tables for getting a little cue ball action between the games. Tanner’s is a spacious bar with friendly service and offers specials every day of the week, such as the famous Chicken Lips, Boogas and steak dinner.
Tanner’s Bar & Grill
Various locations throughout the metro area
tannersbarandgrill.com

Best Dive Bar
Zoo Bar
Commonly referred to as The Zoo, this place is widely known as the best dive bar in town and as a nice departure from the pricey Power & Light District. “Spend less money, have more fun” should be the mantra. You will find a mix of frats and tats, mostly city-dwellers and maybe a few adventurous surburbanites. The Zoo may be small and a bit run-down, but it is what it is and doesn’t try to be anything else. If you like cheap beer and liquor, conversations with random strangers, and don’t mind graffiti all over the walls and ceilings, then this gritty place is for you. But to avoid any embarrassment, beware it is a cash-only bar.
Zoo Bar
1220 McGee St., Kansas City, Mo.
(816) 842-6060

Best Place to Shoot Pool
Side Pockets
With 35 pool tables, ranging from 7 to 9 feet, coin-operated or available by the hour, Side Pockets is the premier gathering place to shoot pool. Pool leagues play Sunday through Thursday, and pool tournaments take place every Thursday and Sunday. The pool hall also has a full-service bar for some liquid courage, to help take the edge off or for imbibing as a spectator. With all of the amenities, Side Pockets has just about something for everyone, including electronic soft-tip dartboards and poker tables.
Side Pockets
13320 W. 87th St. Parkway, Lenexa, Kan.
(913) 888-7665  |  sidepockets.com
Most Authentic Speakeasy
The Majestic
It’s all about the music at The Majestic, which features live jazz seven nights a week. The jazz club, with its dark, velvety ambience, is down a flight of stairs, but it’s not your typical basement hideaway. The Majestic will meet all of your expectations with amazing cocktails and a relaxing atmosphere. Did we mention the music? Be sure to put this on your list of must-go places in Kansas City.
The Majestic Restaurant and Jazz Club
931 Broadway St., Kansas City, Mo.
(816) 221-1888  |  majestickc.com
Best Time Capsule
Touchés
This swanky Johnson County lounge is a choice spot for the more mature nightcluber (think mid-40s and up) although it offers great people-watching for the younger crowd that occasionally wanders in. The main dance floor plays popular music from the last 10 to 30 years, and the separate Signature Lounge plays “today’s Top 40” hits, or so they say. The ambiance is cozy and welcoming with ample tables and cushy chairs and couches. Aside from the odd pot of coffee brewing at the bar and the cougar sightings, it’s a fun, nostalgic place to dance and reminisce about those songs and the memories they hold.
Touché Nightclub
6820 W. 105th St., Overland Park, Kan.
(913) 383-1555  |  touchethenightclub.com

photos: Steve Puppe, Brooke Vandever, Matthew Taylor